Advertising Gripes


Summer is a time for light layers and keeping cool. It’s also a time for advertisers to play on our insecurities. Have you noticed how the number of adverts for body spray, fake tan and razors quadruple the moment July arrives?

Don’t get me wrong, I shave regularly and have used fake tan a time or two myself but what gets my goat is the way the adverts play on women’s insecurities. Yes diary, today I’m having a bit of a rant.

I believe in uniqueness. If you feel perfectly sexy with hairy legs then who am I to judge? I hate how advertisers try to make us feel bad just so we’ll buy their product to make us feel better – nonsense! I’m especially sensitive because of my kids, they’re past being influenced by toy adverts and now it’s the ones that promise to make them look pretty or get them all the girls that they take notice of.

I don’t want my gorgeous kids to ever think they’re anything but. It’s funny, when you’re a teenager you are desperate to fit in, you do all you can to make yourself just like the others in your particular group. We’ve all done it and there’s usually the photos to prove it. The crazy hair dos and the weird but fashionable (at the time) clothes. However, once you’ve grown up just a little bit more you realise how important it is to be unique and you battle just as hard to get out of the neat little box you’ve put yourself in.

I keep telling the kids this, that when true love comes along it won’t be interested in how they smell, if they’ve shaved their legs or if they have perfectly clear skin. True love looks deeper than that. I don’t know how much of it they’re taking in but I keep saying it in hopes it will one day filter through. I know it’s true because back in the day I was dead set on being part of the in crowd. I wanted to be popular and date Steve Redfern, the hottest guy in secondary. Every girl (and I suspect even a boy or two) was after him: no matter what year they were in, they all tried flirting with him.

Steve was in his last year. He wore a leather jacket over his uniform to school and was far too cool to speak to anyone who wasn’t in his gang. I was in the year below and desperate to break into that gang. I rolled up my skirt to show off my legs, even ended up in detention a few times for doing it. I tried hard to befriend one of the girls in the group, Dawn, and eventually it worked. All my fawning and fake compliments got me in and Steve noticed me.

We went out, actually. I was so excited, I bounced around like an excited sparrow all day. I took hours getting ready, putting on a short skirt, fluffing up my hair and putting on make-up. I looked like the epitome of an 80s girl. There’s a photo. Mum grinned when she took it, now I know why. I cringe every time she brings that damn photo out. She’s even uploaded it to Facebook!

Anyway, the point of this tale, Diary, is that the date with Steve was boring. He was boring. He barely spoke to me but tried to get his hand down my top after just fifteen minutes of the film we were watching at the cinema. I wouldn’t let him of course and that ended my five minutes of fame in the cool gang. It broke my heart at the time but I look back now and realise it was a valuable lesson. I went right back to my mates, the ones I’d known from the start of school, and they accepted me back without a question.

So I strive to be me as much as I can and those silly adverts drive me insane. Be who you want to be, do what you want to do and don’t let the advertisers control you. They only want to sell you stuff anyway.